Minimum Employee Rights in Mexico

April 30, 2012
Minimum Employee Rights in Mexico

Any company that hires Mexican employees or foreigners in Mexico should be cautious with the implementationof necessary documentation related to such hiring. To begin with, it is important to take into consideration thatMexican labor laws are designed to protect the rights of Mexican workers, regardless of whether such workersare of Mexican or foreign nationality and the problems that may result. Article 123 of the Constitution of theUnited Mexican States and the Federal Labor Law (LFT, for its acronym in Spanish) establish minimum rights,none of which may be waived. Therefore, any agreement that minimizes these rights can be held null and void.As a result, the individual employment agreement is the proper document that employers and employees shouldexecute in order to evidence the employment conditions. It is important to note that the fact that companies havenot executed individual employment agreements with their employees does not deprive the employees of thelegal rights that arise from their performance of services. The following are the minimum conditions that shouldbe granted to Mexican employees or foreigners working in Mexico: (i) Salaries may not be less than theminimum wages established by the National Minimum Salary Commission; (ii) The work schedule may beagreed to by the parties without exceeding legal limits; the types of schedules are: a) day shift (between 6:00amand 8:00pm), with a maximum duration of 8 hours daily or 48 hours per week; b) night shift (between 8:00pmand 6:00am), with a maximum duration of 7 hours daily or 42 hours per week; and c) mixed shift (consists ofwork periods during the day and night shifts, as long as the night part of the shift is less than three and half hours,(given that if such is exceeded, it would be deemed a night shift), with a duration of 7.5 hours daily or 45 hoursper week. During a continuous work shift, the employee should be given at least a half hour break, and such maybe used freely (usually to eat); (iii) Employees should have one paid day off each week for every 6 days of work,generally on Sundays. If an employee works on Sunday but has another day off during the week, he shall receive25% as an additional bonus, in addition to his salary. This is known as a Sunday bonus; (iv) Employees shouldhave the mandatory days off, as well as holidays. When employees work on the weekly day off or on mandatory days off as indicated by the LFT, they should receive double their salary for their service on such day, in additionto their corresponding salary; (v) Employees should receive an annual Christmas bonus that should be paid beforeDecember 20th of each year and must not be less than 15 days of salary; (vi) Employees should receive theannual vacation days that will be granted depending on their time of service with the company. Furthermore,vacations other than those provided for by the LFT may be agreed to, as long as vacation days are not fewer thanthose provided by the LFT; (vii) Employees should receive a vacation bonus for the days they are on vacation,which cannot be less than the percentage established in the LFT (25%); (viii) Employees have the right to annualprofit sharing consisting of a percentage equal to 10% of the profits generated by the company during thecorresponding fiscal year, in accordance with the term of the Income Tax Law; (ix) Employees have the right tobe trained in accordance with the terms of the plans and programs established by the company. Companies mayagree to additional benefits other than those established by the LFT, such as grocery vouchers, fuel vouchers,automobile use, bonuses, savings fund, etc., and such should also be paid in the manner agreed to by the parties.In addition to the minimum employment conditions established by the LFT, other obligations exist and must bemet when hiring employees, such as welfare obligations, including: a) the obligation to register employees withthe Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and pay the corresponding fees in order to allow employees toreceive health benefits and a retirement pension; b) the obligation to contribute on a bi-monthly basis to theRetirement Savings System (SAR, for its acronym in Spanish) two percent (2%) of the IMSS base salary; and c)the obligation to provide housing for workers by contributing bi-monthly to the Federal Institute for WorkerHousing Fund (INFONAVIT, for its acronym in Spanish) five percent (5%) of the IMSS base salary. Lastly,pregnant women have various rights, including the following: a) six weeks off prior to and after delivery whilereceiving their entire salary; and b) while the mother is nursing, two break periods of a half an hour each to nursethe child in a proper location designated and provided by the company.

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